Photo shows rescue work at a train crash site in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on June 2, 2023. (Press Trust of India/AP/Kyodo)

More than 280 people died and about 800 others were injured in an accident involving multiple trains in eastern India on Friday evening, making it one of the worst rail disasters in the country's history, local media said.

Many passenger cars were overturned after a train derailed and ran onto an adjacent track before colliding with at least one other train. The crash site is about 200 kilometers northeast of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha state.

The crash comes at a time when India has been pushing to modernize its railway systems and improve its transport links amid public criticism over the country's aging infrastructure.

The number of people reported dead or injured from the incident may increase as there are still people who remain unaccounted for, reports citing local authorities said Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he is distressed by the accident.

"Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected," he wrote.

Modi, who visited the site of the accident Saturday, said separately in a statement that "stringent action will be taken" against those found responsible for causing the crash.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida conveyed his condolences in a message addressed to Modi, saying that he is "deeply saddened by the news of the loss of many precious lives."